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What’s the difference between ADHD coaching and CBT?

January 19, 2022

ADHD Coaching and CBT: Which is better for ADHD?  If you or someone you love is struggling with ADHD, the good news is that there are many options for treatment. Two popular therapeutic approaches to ADHD are working with an ADHD coach or undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy. Both are popular and effective options for helping […]

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ADHD Coaching and CBT: Which is better for ADHD? 

If you or someone you love is struggling with ADHD, the good news is that there are many options for treatment. Two popular therapeutic approaches to ADHD are working with an ADHD coach or undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy. Both are popular and effective options for helping people with ADHD better manage their symptoms and their lives, but there are significant differences between the two. What’s the difference between ADHD coaching and CBT? Read on to find out more!

Drug-free ADHD treatment: CBT and ADHD

The popularity of both ADHD coaching and CBT rests partially in the fact that both are drug-free approaches to treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. For people that are unable to take ADHD medication, or who just prefer not to, CBT and ADHD coaching help them take control of their symptoms without drugs. 

However, many patients who work with an ADHD coach or undergo CBT often use medication as a complementary treatment. 

What is ADHD coaching? 

An ADHD coach is similar to a life coach, but he or she works specifically with clients with ADHD. An ADHD coach will help you set goals, create action plans, and build greater self-awareness, emotional regulation, and initiative. Certain patterns of behavior and thinking are typical of ADHD, and while the world at large may not be built to accommodate those types of patterns, an ADHD coach helps you learn to harness the unique powers of your ADHD brain to get things done. 

When used the right way, ADHD can be a superpower instead of a hindrance. Many ADHD coaches actually have the condition themselves, so they know firsthand what it’s like to navigate through daily life with those unique thinking patterns. 

An ADHD coach can help with: 

  • Relationships – People with ADHD often struggle to maintain relationships. A coach can help you learn to manage distraction, procrastination, and emotional dysregulation to develop deeper, healthier bonds. 
  • Organization – With the help of a coach, you can learn skills to prioritize activities, keep records, and manage your time more effectively. 
  • Self-regulation – An ADHD coach can help you improve self-regulation with strategies to reduce stress, manage emotions and build self-esteem. 
  • Goal setting – Being able to set goals is the first step of any successful journey. A coach helps you learn how to set goals and stick to them, harnessing the power of your brain to stay on track in a way that works for you. 
  • Life skills – A coach can help patients develop critical life skills such as conflict resolution, problem solving and navigating social situations. 

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of psychotherapy that aims to relieve symptoms of a wide variety of problems including ADHD, anxiety, depression, addiction, and more by changing patterns of thinking and behavior. CBT helps you become aware of the inaccurate thinking patterns that are contributing to your difficulties and help you see issues more clearly so you can respond in more positive ways. 

CBT is typically short-term and goal-oriented, such as to overcome a singular issue. A patient may start undergoing CBT in order to address difficulties ranging from giving presentations at work to PTSD. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is different from traditional psychotherapy, which revisits old traumas and childhood experiences to process current traumas. With CBT, forward is the only direction. CBT therapists focus on changing negative thought and behavior patterns starting today to build progress for the future. The origins of the patterns don’t hold great importance in the process. 

The differences between CBT and ADHD Coaching 

Though CBT and ADHD coaching shares the same goal — helping patients overcome the difficulties associated with ADHD — there are also some differences between the two approaches. 

  1. CBT practitioners don’t specialize in ADHD 

Perhaps the most important difference between ADHD coaches and CBT practitioners is that CBT therapists and counselors are usually not experts in helping ADHD patients. For this reason, some patients may struggle to see the results they want from CBT therapy, and they may feel that the therapy is less tailored to their particular situation. 

If you choose to pursue CBT as a treatment for ADHD, look for a CBT therapist or counselor who specializes in working with people with ADHD.

2. ADHD Coaching is more of a partnership than CBT 

While both CBT practitioners and ADHD coaches work intimately with their patients to achieve results, the relationships are slightly different. 

ADHD coaching works best when the relationship between the coach and the patient is interactive. The patient and the coachwork together as a team to develop personalized strategies that work best for the patient to address issues and create greater effectiveness in life. 

With CBT, information tends to flow mostly in one direction, from the provider to the patient. The CBT therapist directs the patient, and the patient learns from the therapist. CBT is typically not as customized to the patient as ADHD coaching. It is, however, highly effective, and many ADHD patients find great success with CBT. 

3. CBT does not require an ADHD diagnosis 

Which treatment you pursue may depend on whether or not you’ve received a diagnosis of ADHD. An ADHD coach only works with people who have been formally diagnosed with ADHD. A formal diagnosis is critical to making sure they are working with patients with whom they will be the most successful. 

CBT, on the other hand, does not require a formal ADHD diagnosis. CBT is used to help patients struggling with all sorts of issues, so even if you haven’t been diagnosed with ADHD, a CBT therapist will be able to help you address specific issues that are holding you back. 

NOTE: That being said, getting an accurate diagnosis is critical to getting the help you need. If you haven’t yet received a diagnosis from a professional psychotherapist yet, give our NYC therapist office a call today. We can help you get the diagnosis you need and provide ADHD coaching, medication, psychotherapy, and more. 

What’s the difference between ADHD coaching and CBT?

What’s the difference between ADHD coaching and CBT - Dr. Ditzell Psychiatry

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